The plot of Her Secret Lover relies heavily on misunderstandings to make it work.
While not uncommon in this genre of book, somehow in this novel it feels a bit clunky.
Heiress Antoinette Dupre (described on an annoyingly regular basis as "a pocket Venus", whatever that means),
possesses a letter which she believes she can use to rescue herself and her sister from the evil clutches of Lord Appleby, a man who's trying to marry Antoinette to
obtain her fortune. Gabriel Langley is also hunting a letter, one that he believes will show that
he is the rightful owner of Wexmoor Manor. When he hears that Antoinette, mistress of Appleby, has that letter, he masquerades as a highwayman to try to steal it from her.
doesn't and must come up with other ways to get of the letter. But as Gabriel and Antoinette spar, he may begin to feel more for her than he should. Antoinette has no one she can trust, and that includes the mystery highwayman
- but somehow she just can't keep away from him.
There's nothing original in this story, but it's reasonably well-told. I particularly enjoyed the vignette into sailing and the rather surly servants at Wexmoor Manor. I didn't like the tenuousness of the Misunderstanding thread to the plot, however; it
spins out unnecessarily and isn't entirely believable. Hero and heroine are interesting characters and seem a good match, but the baddie, Appleby,
is hard to grasp character-wise, and at times the plot is a bit thin.